Published: Fri, January 26, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Rory McIlroy ahead of schedule after strong first round in Dubai

Rory McIlroy ahead of schedule after strong first round in Dubai

On a flawless morning for scoring on day one of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, McIlroy took full advantage to breeze round in a bogey-free 65.

Stenson opened with a two-under-par 70 and Garcia shot a five-under-par 65.

Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, South African duo Darren Fichardt and Haydn Porteous, Irishman Paul Dunne and China's Li Haotong were six under, a shot clear of a group containing defending champion Sergio Garcia and Andrew Dodt, the best-placed Australian.

The four-time major victor finished in a tie for 3rd place last week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and has got off to a great start at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Jamie Donaldson has been a forgotten figure since he earned the winning point in the 2014 Ryder Cup.

The world number 11, starting his round at the tenth, was four under par at the turn and followed that up with three birdies in the opening four holes of his back nine.

My first win, and I have been playing here since 2007 as an amateur.

He nearly holed his chip from the edge of the green for a birdie before settling for par on the eighth hole, and then closed with a bogey on the ninth after hitting his drive into the fairway bunker.

"I know that my game is in good enough shape to contend and try to win", he said.

More news: Elon Musk has big agenda for SpaceX's big rocket

"I am still following the doctor's advice, but he has said it could take two or three visits". Probably shouldn't really be thinking that. The Masters could not come any sooner.

"I fancied it. It wasn't to be". Wasn't to be. I knew I had to chip that one in on the eighth.

The first grass golf course in the Middle East when it opened 30 years ago, Emirates Golf Club continues to innovate and revolutionise, with the introduction of state-of- the-art floodlights overlooking the combined ninth and 18th green ahead of this year's tournament the latest example. It's icing on the cake. "Now, it's just a case of more of the same moving on".

"No complaints about last week".

"I was excited about the process of trying to get better and trying to get my body better, my game better, so I was excited about that". The greens in the morning are flawless and there wasn't much wind for probably the first 12 or 13 holes. So you needed to take advantage of it today. "Thankfully I was able to do that", he said.

"Right now it's just about getting myself in a nice bit of form and playing tournaments and playing well".

"That's honestly one of my goals this year".

This is just Lawrie's second event since he went to Munich in November to see Dr Hans Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, a homeopathic specialist, after being hindered by a niggling foot injury over the past couple of years. So, it's been nice to start the last couple of weeks like that.

As many as 117 players in the field of 132 shot par or better.

Like this: